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Nutrition For The Football Field

The biggest game of the season is fast approaching. There is so much to the sport – running, kicking, defending, snatching and of course the ultimate prize, scoring a Touchdown. Have you ever wondered what kind of diet makes a successful football player? Let’s see what keeps players performing at all times in such a competitive sport that demands strength, speed and agility in order to survive.

Being A Football Player

Football players are strong, lethal, agile and fast. They have to be strong to deal with the hits and smash through the opposition defense to make yardage. They also have to be quick enough to exploit gaps in the oppositions defense. The diet plays an integral part in any sport. Each type of sport has a specific diet for better performance to give the best results.

Most football players focus on eating a proper meal 3-4 times a day, which is very low when compared to a bodybuilder’s diet. During training, a pre-workout as well as post-workout meal might also be included.

A football player’s training regimen is very different to say a bodybuilder, as it is based around cardio. This mean football player’s need to drink lots of water to remain hydrated as they sweat a lot during practice and in their protective gear.

If you want to be a pro football player, you’ve got to eat like one. Players take their gym training seriously and they eat according to their goals. They make sure to count their calorie intake depending upon their role in the team. The calories they consume will mostly come from protein and carbohydrates.

optimize nutrition football

Calorie Count for Football Players

It’s essential for players to count their calories and know exactly what their putting in their body. If a player trains 3 times a week, he should consume 15 calories per pound of his bodyweight to maintain his physique and feel replenished. Those who train more than 5 days a week need to up their calorie intake to 20 calories per pound body weight.

In the case of defenders, they are huge and heavy and usually don’t run too much. The calorie intake for them rises to 30-40 calories per pound body weight. Take a look at the graphic below to see just how much the Defensive Tackle has evolved overtime.

how big is the modern day football player

Football Player’s Nutrition

? Protein

Protein is essential nutrient in the diet of a football player. Protein helps to build lean muscle and aid recovery after training. There are many sources of protein, including chicken, beef, pork, eggs and whey protein, to name just a few. The majority of your protein should come from lean sources. It is advisable to consume most of your protein through diet, but protein bars and shakes can be a great, convenient way to boost your protein intake when needed.

There’s a lot of running and cardio in football, which could cause catabolism, so it’s advisable to increase protein intake to maintain and protect muscle mass. An intake 1.2-1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight should be good for players.


If you are a defensive lineman, you have to eat big to get big! Carbohydrates play an integral part of a football player’s diet. The quantity of carbs consumed has to be adjusted depending on your goals. If your aim is to be bulky and powerful, the majority of calories should come from carbohydrates, if the goal is to be agile and very fast, then your carbohydrate intake should be much lower.

Before and after every workout session or game, it is advisable to have a sufficient amount of good carbs to replenish your glycogen stores. The carbohydrates should be a combination of slow and fast digesting ones.


Fats form an essential part of the diet of a football player. Fats help maintain lipid profile levels and lubrication between your bones and joints. This is especially important for football players who put their bones and joints under enormous pressure. The majority of fat can be obtained through fish, avocados, olive oil and nuts.


This is the most crucial part. Hydration is so important for anyone, but especially those involved in intense, physical exercise. Football players have to train during the peak of the summer! They don’t have the liberty to play inside closed arenas with air conditioning. This means they sweat, a lot! And this means they lose minerals, so athletes drink lots of water during practice and on game day to keep them performing at optimal levels.

football player nutrition

Must Have Supplements

Most sports stars understand the importance of supplementation to bridge the gap of nutrients, and football players are no exception. They need supplementation to promote strength and endurance. Below are a few chosen supplements that might aid faster recovery and increase performance when coupled with a balanced, healthy diet and training sessions.


Creatine is a proven performance enhancer. A daily intake of 5-10 g has shown significant results in athletes giving them the extra advantage in terms of strength and size. A football player should consume Creatine before and after his workout – however, if you’re a wide receiver, you may want to skip this, as creatine is good for short bursts of energy, less so for endurance.

Amino Acids

Athletes keep sipping water throughout the day and during their training – a good idea is to add some Amino acids. Aminos are classified into essential and non-essential amino acids. Amino acids help reduce muscle soreness, increase protein synthesis and give you a punch to push beyond the limits.

Protein Powders

Protein powders bridge the gap of protein from the diet. Consumption of whey protein or any other type is extremely safe and helps promoting lean mass. Protein powders come in handy after a tiring game. I would reiterate that most of the protein intake should be from lean food sources.

? Vitamins & Minerals

Adding vitamins and minerals to your daily routine can help ensure your body is not deficient in any must have nutrient. If you’re a football player you should be thinking especially about your joint health, meaning you should look into taking a fish oil supplement alongside Glucosamine Sulphate.


Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Writer and expert

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